The sheer joy and exuberance of the Youth Dance Festival reflects so well on 32 years of bringing together the schools and students who participate every year. The format has remained much the same but as the city has grown so too have the number of schools participating and the greater diversity of the content.
Be Loud Be Heard was this year’s theme and it aimed to give a voice, a chance to demonstrate their opinions, ideas and stories with a platform to share and an opportunity to communicate them in this unique collaborative and creative environment for students.
Joining the volunteer side of this mammoth production with enthusiasm and sponsorship was Maria Efkarpidis, Marketing Director of Rock Development which has supported the program since 2006, taking on a new role and loving every minute of it. And no doubt will be back next year after finding a passion for working in a variety of roles for the production.
For the ‘behind the scenes’ event this year, held on the third and final night of the program, guests were given a peek into the labyrinth that is the Canberra Theatre, meeting the volunteers, the staff from the Canberra Theatre who make it come together and into the treasure trove that is the poster gallery rarely visited by us mere mortals who sit in the audience. History is everywhere on the walls, reminding us of long ago theatre experiences and the people who brought so many memorable moments to the stage above.
And for this year’s groups bringing an eclectic mix of dance to the stage perhaps their future will be influenced by their youthful ideas. As Merici College performed “Why Fit In When You Were Born to Stand Out” exploring themes of breaking away from society’s expectations and stereotypes, but being true to themselves this Youth Dance Festival augurs well for them, and makes us take notice of what they’re communicating in dance.